England Star gets 'Celebrity' treatment in Cheshire Schools

CHRISTMAS came early for aspiring young cricketers in Cheshire when England Women's International Kate Cross made a series of festive school visits.
The Lancashire Academy graduate spent three days with Cheshire Cricket Board coaches last month, working across primary and secondary schools in Stockport, South Trafford and Mid-Cheshire.
Like many of her England Women's team colleagues, Kate is employed as an Ambassador for Chance to Shine, and this was her visit to Cheshire.
"I only started the role (as an Ambassador) in the summer, but my week with the Cheshire coaches was genuinely one of the best I have ever had," confessed Kate.
"Every school made a really big effort, and to be honest it made me feel like a bit of a celebrity.
"Quite a few of the sessions took place outside, but despite the cold weather everyone got stuck in and the kids seemed to have a great time.
"I didn't know an awful lot about Chance to Shine before the summer, other than that some of the other England Girls had worked as Ambassadors. Doing the school visits I can see just what a difference the programme makes, and I really hope it continues for years to come."

Cheshire Cricket Board have worked in partnership with Chance to Shine for nearly 10 years, inspiring children to pursue their passion for the sport beyond the school gates.
Having spent her childhood days playing in boys teams in Bury, Kate is determined to highlight the opportunities for girls in Cheshire to follow her into the professional ranks.
"There weren't any girls teams where I lived growing up, so I always played with the boys," she revealed.
"Now there are lots of opportunities for girls to play, and it's important that we keep the momentum going.
"It's a massive boost that the ECB have offered the Women central contracts and now Sky TV have pledged to cover our matches next summer, so that should really help to raise the profile of the sport.
"I had never thought of myself as a role model before, but visiting schools and wearing the Three Lions on your tracksuit really inspires the kids and it's such a nice feeling. If we can get even just a handful to migrate from the school playground to the local club, then it's definitely a worthy cause."

Development and Coaching Officer James Hendry welcomed Kate to Moss Hey Primary in Stockport, where the England star took part in a question and answer session, before delivering an action-packed lesson to the Year 5 and Year 6 children.
"Having Kate join me at Moss Hey Primary School was fantastic," said James. "She was entertaining and enthusiastic throughout the morning. The children were sad to see her leave, even enquiring if she could come back.
"Kate also helped me explain the importance of the Chance to Shine programme. I'm going to be working closely with the school to establish and formalise its school-club links, offering children an exit route into cricket. Hopefully her visit has encouraged more children from Moss Hey to give the game a go."
Kate also spent some time at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College in Altrincham, where Trafford DCO Toby Mullins has been promoting girls' cricket for several weeks.
Toby said: "The girls at BTH really enjoyed the sessions with plenty of them asking about how Kate got to play for England.
"To be honest, they were in awe of her - she only bowled one delivery all session but that knocked all three stumps out the base!
"In her speech afterwards there were quite a few girls asking about different ways to get involved in cricket and thinking of setting up a competition, as they all really seemed to enjoy it."
Kate was happy to take questions at the end of each visit, highlighting some of her personal favourites from children at both ends of school spectrum.
"Some of the questions were really thoughtful," she said.
"The older girls were asking about how to progress with a career in sport, which was great to hear. If that question had been asked a few years ago the answer might have been totally different, but now there are so many opportunities for girls to make a living playing sport. That is the message I have been trying to get across - I want to inspire these girls to follow their dreams.
"There were some funny questions too, mainly from the younger ones at the primary schools. One child asked me if I was going to be on the next series of 'I'm a Celebrity... ' and another just wanted to know if I had any pets!"
Kate was equally impressed with the role played by the Cheshire Cricket Board coaches, and is already looking forward to her next visit.
She said: "The Cheshire coaches were fantastic and you could tell they had a great rapport with the children and staff, which made my job a lot easier.
"I acted as the lead coach for most sessions as I guess having me in the school was something novel for the kids, but the Cheshire guys were on hand to support and keep everyone motivated throughout. I'm looking forward to linking up with them again in the future."
Kate added: "For lots of children their first taste of cricket is in school now, so it's important that Cheshire have community coaches to inspire them. If these children do join the local club, or progress onto the player pathway, then they will see a familiar face and somebody they know and that's really important for their development."
Read all Cheshire C2S stories
Women and Girls cricket in Cheshire
The Cricket Foundation, the Charity behind Chance to Shine
Cheshire's Chance To Shine Photo Gallery